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What Can you Bring Home from DIFFA’s Dining by Design 2010?

mmpi tabletop at diffa's dining by design 2010

mmpi tabletop at diffa\'s dining by design 2010

I did not cover earlier the DIFFA’s event of the year, which is the Dining by Design 2010, because, frankly, I was disappointed by the tabletops. I revisited the various reports yesterday night and tried to see if they were some elements that I could repurpose or recycle at home. I found two that are worth mentioning.

manhattan tabletop at diffa\'s dining by design 2010

From the Manhattan tabletop, take note on how they used toys and tourist souvenirs to create a scene. You can do the same for a kids birthday party. In fact, Amy Atlas worked around that concept when she designed her son’s Take Off birthday party.

You can add an illusion of space when designing your dining table with this simple trick. Sandwich service carts on wheels between two console tables to achieve a roomy square table (top picture). You could bring back the caddy to the kitchen between services. Doing that enables you to tailor the carts to the courses and to bring an element of surprise at the reveal. See more tabletops at John Simon Daily and a slideshow on the New York Times.

+ MMPI table: photo via John Simon Daily – designed by Poggenpohl & Harry J. Daniell
+ Manhattan Magazine table: photo via John Simon Daily – designed by Marc Wilson & Mark Tamayo


Farmyard Tabletop for Thanksgiving

modern rustic theme for thanksgiving

My goal was to create a Thanksgiving mood board that will not include gourds, pumpkins or a roasted turkey. I wanted a theme that mixed the old with the new. When I saw this adorable farmyard animal trays by Simrin, I found my starting point. Life after the harvest at the farm influenced my theme.

farmyard kitchen and tableware accessories

Think about the elements of a modern rustic home. You can introduce the old through your home accessories in the room, not simply the tableware. Show off items made with reclaimed wood and finds from the flea market. Plus, it should not be too hard to find the right tableware since many reedited old style tableware are available in stores this season.

orange fall tabletop

Do not be afraid to make it your own. For example, you can coordinate modern white tableware with vintage French country flatware and a contemporary fall foliage tablecloth. For the colors, take clues from the harvest season, the fall foliage, and life at the farm. Go for orange and natural linen table linens.

Click here if you need the step by step instructions to fold your napkins into a diagonal pocket.

+ Rattan Handled Pitcher $49 USD at Wisteria
+ Feed Sack with blue Table Runner $399 USD at Wisteria
+ side wood table by Roost
+ Black Laguiole flatware at Williams-Sonoma on the Web 20-piece $289, in store $79 per 5-piece setting
+ Farmyard Medium Rectangular Pig Tray by Simrin $76 USD
+ photo by Jodi Pudge for Style at Home
+ Etienne Rust Table Runner $46.95 USD
+ Lustre Rust Napkin $4.95 USD
+ Kava Saucer $12 USD
+ Wood-handle horn flatware $15 CAD per three-piece set At Design Group


Napkin Folding: Diagonal Pocket for a Fresh Look

modern diagonal pocket napkin fold

The diagonal pocket fold is not harder to make than the (square) pocket napkin fold. I prefer the diagonal pocket fold for its elegance. It is a twist on the basic silverware pouch. The difference is that you create a band instead of simply diagonally folding the top layer (step 1). I think that the band creates a more sophisticated look.

Before we go over the step by step instructions, let’s review a few basic rules. Any sit down dinner, even the most casual one, requires that you use cloth napkins. Ideally, you should keep around several solid and pattern cloth napkins that go well with your tablecloths. The bigger the napkins, the easiest it is to fold it. I recommend that you use 20 to 22-inch pressed napkins.

How to Fold a Napkin into a Diagonal Pocket for the Silverware

Step 0: Fold a square napkin in half, then into quarters. Orient the napkin so that the open corner is facing the top left side.

how to fold a napkin into a diagonal pocket

Step 1: Gradually roll up diagonally the top-most layer of napkin and press it down to form a band. I usually start rolling a band that is 3/4 of an inch and adjust as needed to get the look I want.

Step 2: I stop rolling when I reach about 1 inch from the lower corner. It is easier to secure the wrapped sides if you stop before reaching the corner.

Step3: Turn the napkin over so that the open corner is now facing your body. Fold that 1/3 of the bottom side.

Step 4: Fold 1/3 of the top side and tuck it in the bottom corner to secure in place. Press well. You can iron the napkins for a crisper look. I did not took the time to do it for the pictures.

Step 5: Use the pocket to place the silverware, a flower (with a florist vial) or a menu card.


An Orange and Pure Linen Tabletop for Thanksgiving

la strada tabletop inspired a Thanksgiving dinner

I have a love affair with orange. Since it is not everyone’s favorite color, I enjoy the fact that I can pitch more orange tablescapes during autumn.  The tabletop developed for a mid-class cozy café shows that you can create an impact by keeping things simple.

The casual elegance of tabletop is something that you can duplicate for your Thanskgiving dinner party. Finding a beige dinnerware is easy. Look no further than the IKEA 365+ or the Dinera line for beige modern dinnerware. Even the Cream Studio dinnerware that is currently in sale at Pottery Barn would fit the design.

You should not regret investing in a pure linen tablecloth since you will get many years of usage out of it. If you are on a budget, fashion your tablecloth with burlap. Lastly, I like the old-fashioned salt and pepper set. You could try to find something similar at flea markets or vintage stores.

+ via Design Work Life and Behance
+ project in Russia from Transformer Studio


Tableware fitted for Halloween and Thanksgiving

halloween and thanksgiving tableware :: crate & barrel :: dwr

When it comes to tableware, I prefer to get items that I will be able to reuse more than once a year. Halloween and Thanksgiving have a lot in common since they are both in autumn. It is even closer to the truth in Canada since we celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October at the peak of autumn leaves.

Dinnerware for entertaining

The most important element for entertaining is to get a versatile yet elegant dinnerware set. Organic shapes connect us to the traditional meaning of Thanksgiving Day, which was a time to say thanks for the harvest.

I enjoy the warmth of creamy neutral dinnerware. It feels cozier than pure white. The Classic Century Dinnerware collection is a reproduction of an original 1952 design by Eva Zeisel. Everyone who bought the set still love it but beware that it could chip more easily than typical earthenware set. If you live or entertain often with young children, this dinnerware set is not for you.

The Classic Cream Century dinnerware looks stunning against the Black Glass Pitcher at Design Within Reach. The Black Glass Collection also includes a short tumbler, a tall tumbler, and a sake cup .

Serving ware

white pumpkin tureen at crate & barrel

The Pumpkin tureen does not scream Halloween. Being white and its updated treatment means that you can use it anytime during the autumnal season. The wood pumpkin trivet adds a trendy touch to family style food service.

+ Classic Century Tableware Collection $62.95 – $267.95 USD at Crate & Barrel
+ Black Glass Pitcher $85 USD (on sale at $72.25 until Oct.13, 2009) at DWR
+ Acacia Pumpkin Trivet $9.95 USD at Crate & Barrel
+ Pumpkin Tureen $29.95 USD at Crate & Barrel


Rustic Tables for the End of Summer Cottage Season

rustic meets vintage tabletop rustic table inspiration :: menu wheel by anna of rifle design

Fall officially arrived. In a few weeks, the cottage on the lake season will close for many of us that live North. Wood slice trays are nothing new but I still like them. Plus, using handcrafted organic elements to contrast modern pieces is one of the 4 trends for Christmas 2009 (more on that later).

serving meat pie at sugar shack pied de cochon

Wood slices are beloved because they are versatile. Tree slices fit in from a shack style to the modern rustic. You can use them to serve savory pies, or as a natural cheese board.  They can also support your floral centerpieces as you can see on this charming table by the crafty Anna of Rifle Design. Anna took that picture as part of her DIY menu wheel craft project.

Rustic Tree Cake Stands

diy tree slice cake stands :: rustic cake stands

What I like the most is how you can transform a tree slice and a short thick branch into your own cake stands. Make a least three stands. Ideally, you wish to vary their heights and surface size. They are not complicated to make. See the instructions of Laurie Cinotto. Remember to put a paper between the food and the tree slice, unless you applied a food-safe wood sealer.

If crafting is not your thing, go to Hens in Daisies’ Etsy shop to find large and extra large cake stands. They are ready to use. Simply wipe clean with damp cloth these food-safe sealed cake plates.

+ DIY Tree Pedestal Cake Stand by Laurie Cinotto on Once Wed
+ DIY Wedding Menu Wheel on Design*Sponge
+ Large Rustic Cake Stand by Hens in Daisies $45 USD on Etsy
+ Extra Large Rustic Cake Stand by Hens in Daisies $75 USD on Etsy


The Art of Food Styling and Rustic Tabletop

leesa o\'reilly :: australian food stylist :: picnic and outdoor dinner party

My entertaining philosophy has always been to pay attention to how I present food and set up my table instead of passing hours cooking in the kitchen. I cook but I opt for delicious dishes that are simple to make. I often serve dishes I am used to do.  The key is to serve the entire meal in a more refined way. Adding a few details goes a long way. The idea is to make it looks special, to show that you care.

Any time you have guess over, always make sure the table is ready before your guests arrive. It sends the message that they are thrilled to have them over. Pay attention to how you dress your table. These pictures styled by the Australian-based stylist Leesa O’Reilly are perfect examples that modern rustic can be elegant and inviting. To speed up the process, practice how you can set up the table on weekend for your family brunch or dinner.

leesa o\'reilly :: cheese platters and french bistro style

Get inspired by how Leesa O’Reilly arranged her cheese platters. You can mix and match the classic linen with hemstitch detail to add interest to a bistro style tabletop. Assembling this table will take you 5 to 10 minutes. Remember it the next time you are in a hurry.

Notice that most photos were taken by Melbourne based photographer Mark Roper. Karen Martini and George Calombaris are Melbourne-based internationally renowned chefs. Their food is represented in a selection of the images.

+ Portfolio of Leesa O’Reilly – photos for Vogue Entertaining & Travel (photography by Andrew McCornell and food by George Colomboris), Donna Hay, Sunday Life Magazine (food by Karen Martini) – most photographs are by Mark Roper
+ Table Linen Collection by Linen & Moore napkin $13.20 AUD, tablecloth $130-$185 AUD
+ Via Oh Joy!


Tabletop and Party Favor Accessories by L’Atelier Modele

I am responding to my interior designer friend Jennifer Mitchell of Design Hole who spotlighted these French-made tabletop accessories having me in mind. She was looking for an excuse to throw a party.

This concept was developed by L’Atelier Modele. Every product from Lajolitable series would add a festive touch to your table on any occasions this summer. The hand made items are made of polypropylene, which means that they could be reused. After usage, you simply need to carefully clean them with a damp cloth. You select the color you want from 16 colors.

abletop accessories :: placemats, decorations and coasters

If you are into birds, here are some items you may enjoy:

+ Lejolinom, a cute birdy place card holder  €1.20
+ Ballotin de chocolat, a party favor box with a ribbon flower that can hold 5 chocolates – starts at €4.50
+ Placemat €6.00
+ Birds Coaster, to match with the placemat (bottom right) €3.00
+ Brindille, a flat flower used as a decorative element on a table or hanging from a branch €0.50
+ Oiseau, a decorative element for a glass or a plate. Remove when you are ready to serve. €0.80

+ Via Design Hole


Another Report on IDS 09

tablescape at house and home booth ids09

+ Many of you are a fan of Canadian House and Home magazine. Linda Reeves started two housewares lines a few years ago. House & Home Style for Living brand products sold at The Bay, Home Outfitters and NEST brand products sold at Zellers. Their booth features a classic tablescape theme for this spring.

glass retrofit bowls by brad turner

+ I felt transformed in the Jetson’s years when I look at the Retrofit Bowls by Brad Turner. It feels like a bowl inside a footed bowl. I like their shape and color of these glass bowls. The Retrofit bowls are prototype.

orange and roses centerpieces by lucid interior design

+ It is simple to recreate this centerpiece. Simply gather 4 glass plates or tray filled with oranges and red roses. The key is symmetry. Group 2 by 2 or 3 by 3 identical square plates and trays. This centerpiece arrangement is ideal when placed on a long buffet table to split the food areas. These were displayed in the Grand Marnier Lounge. Lucid Interior Design created this lounge space.


Fun and Festive Decor | Quick Links 2009.02.06

Sharing inspirations I spot on the blogosphere.

fun festive tablescapes and art prints

+ Tablescape elements taken from the modern rustic wedding created by Elizabeth Anne Designs. Spread lunch boxes filled with color crayons and small toys at a family dinner table. The aquarium centerpiece will work well for a kid birthday party. Via Style Me Pretty

+ Decorate a nursery or a kid room with a gender neutral modern Hh is for House print. Design by Modern Pop. Only $12 USD for an 8″ x 8″ print

recession proof gift set by anvil modern paperie

+ The recession proof gift set from Anvil Modern Paperie is something to keep in mind. The illustrated coupons are stunning. If play your cards well, you may even get away with the only the thoughts. Via Paper Shop Ink

frank restaurant at ago in Toronto

+ Looking forward for my dinner at FRANK restaurant located in the Art Museum of Ontario. The décor is a distinct Frank Gehry-designed space.


Turquoise Spring Tablescapes at Zara Home

turquoise gold and pink spring tabletop

I was inspired by the Spring and Summer 2009 tableware collection at Zara Home to create a festive tablescape.

The starting point was this amazing turquoise and gold Nilo flatware. It is made in gold stainless steel with a dark blue turquoise PVC handle.

My Turquoise, Gold and Pink Tablescape

I used different tone of three colors. Mixing hues with accent colors and textures add interest. The look is refined and sophisticated. Do not be afraid to add a punch color through the tablecloth. For a scheme like that, a print tablecloth is preferable to a solid.

The components are:

+ Nilo cutlery teaspoon £2 fork, knife, spoon £3
+ Nabuko Crockery dessert plate £5, bowl, soup plate and dinner plate £6
+ Paisley Tablecloth £45
+ Pop wine glass £4.50
+ Idea water glass £3
+ Alhambra Jug £4, water tumbler £2

Zara Home Styled Photo

cabana table runner at zara home

I am in love with the embroidered floral ramie table runner. It would be great for Easter, Mother’s Day or an outdoor brunch on a sunny weekend.

zara home spring 2009 tableware and cutlery

Here you see the same flatware used with a different color palette. The Zara stylists used the same dinnerware but they came up with a totally different look.

+ Cabana table runner £25
+ Small pop wine glass (the blue and purple one) £4.50

It is too bad that the stuff is unavailable in North America. I think that we should start an online petition to implore Zara to open at least an online store with shipping in Canada and the United States. My way to start the crave is to showcase items from their astonishing collection.

If you wish to see more turquoise décor accessories from Zara Home, the Styles Files wrote a good post on turquoise being the trendy color for spring & summer 2009.